I used to work as an Assistant Producer for the BBC Disability Programmes Unit, directing short films for the BBC 2 series about disability issues – ‘From the Edge’.
In 1999 I was asked to film at the Mobility Roadshow in Crowthorne, Berkshire. By far the hardest part was deciding what to include in the film as there was so much on offer and the target length of the film would have been about 5 or 6 minutes!
On the day we had about 4 hours to film everything in. That might sound like a long time but that included having to navigate round the show to find the things we were going to film, setting up the camera and sound, doing the actual filming and then any retakes.
Mik Scarlet, was our very memorable leather-clad presenter. As a vehicle, motorbike and gadget loving wheelchair user he was like a kid in a sweetshop on the day!
Some of the things we filmed included Mik testing out a double scooter ‘made for two’, a vehicle a bit like a motorbike which you could wheel your wheelchair into the back of [if I remember correctly it was called a Nippa?], he also tried out the Toyota Prius – the first volume produced petrol/electric car which made it’s debut at the show, he wheeled in and out of various wheelchair accessible vehicles and squeezed into a very funky Smart car. He marvelled at the state of the art wheelchairs for children and adults alike, and we all ate ice cream because it was very hot that day.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the day because the atmosphere was so positive. The only frustration for me was that because I was working I didn’t have the time to look at anything [I was dying to try out some of the scooters as I didn’t have one at the time] but I did go back several years later with my children in tow and that time I had a somewhat more leisurely visit, I don’t remember having any ice cream that year – it must have been on a more typical British ‘summer’s’ day…